As data storage gets bigger and faster and cheaper, we’re starting to hear talk of petabytes– a word that until a few years ago was beyond the reach of technology. An interesting discussion on Slashdot included this interesting comment:

Consider that a single “frame” of vision for human eyes is estimated at 576 megapixels (truncating at peripheral vision). We’ll imagine that each pixel is assigned a 16-bit hexadecimal value. That means each time you glance at something, each frame would be calculated at a little more than 1/1000th of a terabyte. The lowball framerate for the human eye is about 18 frames/second (the rate at which things look fluid). That means that every 50 seconds, your eye is downloading a terabyte of information. In less than a day, your brain downloads over a petabyte of information via sight alone.

A petabyte is within reach of our technology (although still at a pretty steep cost) but to realize that every one of us absorbs that much data daily is pretty amazing. Biology still beats technology.